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In March 2018, Pennsylvania took the lead to medical marijuana research, granting eight schools special research privileges to discover new cannabis-based medical treatments. The state allows its citizens to obtain medical marijuana products to treat qualified conditions, which include cancer, glaucoma, HIV, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among others.
Recreational cannabis use is still prohibited as of 2019. The state’s governor has repeatedly emphasized that Pennsylvania is “not ready” for recreational cannabis legislation, but he seeks to listen to the voice of his constituency throughout his second term to determine a path forward.
Yes. Pennsylvania requires dispensaries to apply for a medical cannabis dispensary license during one of the state’s open enrollment phases. As of 2019, the state is not accepting new applications.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health is responsible for managing and overseeing cannabis laws in the state. Cultivators, dispensaries, physicians, and patients all have to obtain cannabis licenses from the Department of Health, headed by the state governor and the state’s Secretary of Health.
As of 2019, the state of Pennsylvania is not accepting new dispensary applications and is unlikely to begin a new enrollment period unless legislation changes. The best way for someone to open a cannabis dispensary in Pennsylvania is to acquire an existing license holding organization. The state must approve of any dispensary acquisitions that take place.
Dispensary organizations must provide state authorities with a full business plan, comprehensive security solutions, zoning requirements compliance, and the ability to track cannabis products through the supply chain. Pennsylvania also requires dispensaries to present an employee diversity plan and undergo a two-hour training course at the Department of Health.
Applicants must submit an initial non-refundable fee of $5,000 along with the dispensary application. Organizations must also pay a $30,000 permit fee to receive their licenses, but this fee is refundable if the state chooses not to grant the license. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate they have access to at least $150,000 in capital.
Yes. Dispensary owners in Pennsylvania must pay a $5,000 permit renewal fee every year. The state will refund this fee to organizations whose renewal applications it rejects.
Pennsylvania distinguishes between cannabis dispensaries and cannabis cultivators, called growers and processors, in the state’s legal language. Cannabis dispensaries are the only organizations with the right to sell cannabis products to patients. No recreational cannabis license exists in Pennsylvania as of 2019.
The state statutes don’t mention exactly when the Pennsylvania Department of Health will issue cannabis permits to approved applicants. It does stipulate that renewal applications must be made between four and six months from the permit’s expiration date.
In Pennsylvania, dispensary organizations can operate a maximum of three locations, all within the organization’s state-assigned region. If legislation changes, it is likely that current dispensary owners will be in an advantageous position to obtain new licenses or open new dispensaries. Conversely, growers and processors may be at a disadvantage – the state only allows 20% of its cultivators to operate as dispensaries.
Pennsylvania limits dispensaries to various state-level regions. It forbids individual dispensaries from operating within 1,000 feet of any school or day-care center. Dispensaries may also be subject to city-level zoning laws and restrictions.
No. Pennsylvania state law does not require cannabis event organizers to take special action or apply for permits. State laws for the promotion and advertising of cannabis are aligned with federal statutes on prescription drugs.
No. Cannabis event organizers and exhibitors do not need to apply for any event-specific licensing. Providing visitors with cannabis products is not allowed, though.
Any dispensary owner can host a cannabis-themed event in accordance with local laws without applying for an event license. However, the events must be educational in nature. Selling or advertising marijuana to people who are not registered patients is illegal.
Pennsylvania requires dispensaries to report cannabis transactions, implement stringent security solutions, and implement diversity policies for its employees. Dispensaries must take steps to prevent the diversion of cannabis products towards the black market and track all products through a robust electronic system.
Pennsylvania requires dispensaries to implement commercial-grade surveillance systems that cover every facility entrance and exit as well as the facility perimeter. Dispensaries must have a panic alarm system and a separate, silent holdup alarm system. Dispensary records must be available upon the request of the Department of Health.
Yes – with a catch. Organizations that transport cannabis products must do so in regulated tamper-proof containers with clearly visible batch numbers. This means the majority of cannabis products must already be packaged and ready for sale by the time transport occurs. Only certain cannabis products may be transported and packaged on-site.
Pennsylvania is not likely to grant alcohol or tobacco licenses to cannabis dispensaries. Dispensary owners are not recommended to attempt selling alcohol or tobacco products at their medical marijuana clinics.
Yes – with a catch. Pennsylvania regulators will not allow all dispensaries to operate vertically integrated cultivation and processing businesses. State statutes limit the number of vertically integrated enterprises to 20% of the total number of organizations operating within the state.
No. Pennsylvania specifically prohibits dispensaries from giving cannabis products away for free unless the Department of Health has specifically approved the patient in question for financial assistance.
Pennsylvania does not impose operating hours on cannabis dispensaries. Dispensaries are still required to report their operating hours to the Department of Health as part of their license application, however.
Cannabis dispensaries may have public-facing displays in accordance with federal laws on the advertising and promotion of prescription medication. This means that dispensaries must not appear to condone recreational use or influence minors to use marijuana products.
Medical marijuana patients must be at least 18 years old before they can purchase their own cannabis. Minors may access cannabis products only through a registered caretaker, who may be the minor’s parent or legal guardian.
Seed-to-sale reporting systems track the movement of cannabis products through the supply chain. Batch numbers identify individual cannabis plants and the products they become post-processing. Cannabis dispensaries must be able to report the movement of cannabis from cultivation to sale.